zondag 28 december 2014

The ONE thing we (40plusfashionbloggers) must never mention again in 2015!

Please, please, please! Could we all stop using the phrase 'Hiding a multitude of sins', please? ( I know, this sound strange coming from a woman wearing a mask but bear with me)

It's a standard phrase often used in ladies magazines and I have seen it numerous times now in fashion blogs. It is originally a Biblical expression meaning compensation for numerous evils. Being able to compensate for your bad qualities with good deeds is an absolutely fine thing to me. However, in fashion terms it refers to bodily imperfections that need to be covered/compensated with loose fitting clothes. I know it is lightheartedly said in most cases but I find this saying hugely offensive. I will tell you why I find it damaging that over 40 fashion bloggers use this (humorously intended) line when describing themselves.

Sins (a multitude of)
To stick with Biblical references; ever since Eve took a bite out of the apple, women are perceived as sinners. This carries on in most aspects of our lives, only think about the heated debates still going on about working mothers.
In connection to fashion and style our sins (plural!) consist of having normal (i.e most common shapes & sizes) bodies as opposed to the rare tall and lean figures. Most women over 40 show signs of having lived that amount of time. Signs, not sins. Signs we have gone through pregnancies, childbirth, disease, laughter, a lot of booze, fags, too much food or too little of it, gravity, anxieties, work, trauma, exercise, moving house, redundancy, love, education, divorce, friendships, family, operations, car crashes, sunshine and bad haircuts  The list is not by far conclusive, but you must have guessed  by now what I mean. We are real women and to me the attraction of over 40 fashion blogs is exactly that. Here I can see women I can relate to because frankly to the models in fashion magazines and some webshops I can't. You must have had this experience too, that you cannot for the life of you asses whether a piece of clothing you like on a model will look good on you. And that is not because you have such an weird bodyshape, no. It is nearly impossible to asses a garment because the model's shape is too different from average, she has the rare shape. You are made to feel like the odd one out but really, YOU ARE THE NORM! What I would really like for (web)shops to do is show clothes in actual sizes. So a photograph of a pair of jeans in size 14 on a women sized 14 and so on (I have just gone through the excruciatingly experience of buying white boyfriend jeans online. A fraction better then trying a hundred pairs on in a shop, but still, equal to the Spanish Inquisition)

Colleague blogger (although a lot younger then 40) Franziska pointed something simular out in her blog about editing your pictures to look like the apparently desired figures. Admittedly I like the look of tall and slim figures but is this liking a product of the media or is it pure, really me? I really couldn't tell. Franzeska counts herself lucky that she didn't grow up with social media. Well , I certainly didn't but I was still heavily influenced by the printed media to have a cast iron image in my head of how a woman is supposed to look. Where does that leave me as an 44 year old woman who does show indeed signs of having lived?! Do I have to cover myself up in shame? Not an option. We are simply with too many  to ignore (safety in numbers).
I refuse to see signs of life on bodies and faces as sins and will refuse to hide them. This is not a pledge for wearing see-through white leggings or just nicking your daughters clothes and let it all hang out. There is still such a thing as good taste. And it is a joy to dress myself a stylish as I can after all. And I always seek room for improvement (brush my teeth an so on) and like a good grooming, of course! I am to old to worry about whether my...........(fill in as appropriate) fits the perfect picture. I have resigned myself to the fact that I am not miss Pretty although Mother Nature has been kind to me in other areas. If I had to hide my multitude of sins, if I couldn't accept my non-perfect face, I would have to walk around with a paper bag over my head (or a mask) In this regard I think it is also harmful to refer to upper legs as having 'saddle bags' or upper arms as 'chicken fillets' or speak about muffins in a non culinary sense. Jokingly chastising yourself is still chastising yourself full stop. And as we are no sinners for having lived there is no need for punishment. We have to be gentle and respectful to ourselves because if we don't who will?

Now we have established that the so called sins are in fact signs (of having lived) we do no longer have the need to hide them! This leaves us free to enjoy dressing in flattering, colourful, inspirational, creative or boring (if you choose!) ways without having to worry about bulging or sagging parts. At least I try and that is one of my New Year Resolutions for 2015. We are worth to be visible, as Patty from Not Dead Yet Style has pointed out many times.

This picture was taken this afternoon on the beach with my favorite men (sons & husband) It was a lovely afternoon!

Do you have any new year resolutions regarding your appearance? Let me (us) know in the comments below!

See you next time,


woensdag 24 december 2014

Dreaming of an orange Christmas

From my little front garden I wish you a bright & happy orange Christmas!

Chunky knit hat: Cos (current)
Woven wool scarf: last year Cos. Same scarf still available in different colours.
Leather Gloves: shown before in this blog
Down Jacket: Closed, shown before in this blog

See you next time!

Seasons's greetings,


zaterdag 20 december 2014

Glitzy Bomber Jacket pre-Christmas

Dante 6 shiny bomber jacket, gold and navy pattern

Who has ever invented the photographing-your-indoor-outfits-outside-in-the-blasted-cold-thingy? It was excruciatingly cold! One must suffer for beauty, well, in this case I had to suffer to showing it of. What I'm wearing is a navy and gold bomber jacket from Dutch brand Dante 6. I knocked this one on the head at a sample sale last summer. I love bomber jackets, they are the right hybrid between a formal jacket and a casual cardigan. This one can easily be worn to a party over a pair of more dressier trousers or a skirt. It's also very wearable to the office I think, paired with navy smart trousers and heels. But I also love wearing shiny glitsy items like these in a casual way. Every time I look down or see my arms it makes my smile! I have combined it here with a navy shirt with a lace insert. It is collarless. I don't think a bomber jacket works well with a collar underneath, I always wear it with a boatneck T-shirt or this shirt. I love combining different patterns but like to keep it within the same colourrange.
There was a lot of wind that afternoon so Madam Mannequin kept falling in the mud. Poor dummy, she was not amused (Readers who follow this blog in Bloglovin, please have a look at the original blog for more explanation on my assistant) Me and my youngest son had a great time though, he was happily bobbing along, messing about with sticks in the mud and shards of ice on the puddles. And I was enjoying watching him while trying to take photographs and not getting hypothermic...In the Behind the scenes section you can see more!

Party bomber jacket, Dante 6, gold pattern
Navy lace blouse
gold and nay pattern, bomberjacket, dante 6

To warm up afterwards we had a lovely lunch of fried eggs, the best meal in the world!

Bomber Jacket: Dante 6 Here you can find a similar Dante 6 bomber jacket in a different fabric.

Navy lace shirt (old, found at a sales website Showroomprive): Vanesssa Bruno Athe) Here and here are similar shirts for a reasonable price.

Ankle Boots (two years old): Catarina Martins, see more here

How do you style glitzy items in a casual way - if at all? Let me know in the comments!

See you next time,


maandag 15 december 2014

Purple and green should never be seen (Visible Monday)

Years ago I found this wonderful blueish-purple short coat of thick wool in the sale of an online designers' outlet-store closing it's virtual doors. I'm always very fond of rummaging around in the dregs of the sale! Serendipity-light I call this way of acquiring unique items. I paid under €50,00 for it and worn it so many times I actually reduced the price per wear to €00,40 and counting.
This peplum jacket is made by Rebecca Taylor, a brand I had never heard of before. I don't shop brands, I shop colour, shape, fabric, quality etc.
I Googled the name and had quite a shock! Expensive stuff! A peplum coat is a handy thing to have, to wear over a long (evening)dress or skirt. And as you can see her, it look good on skinnies too!
The scarf is also an oldie, it was given to me when I bought a Barbour coat 10 years ago. It's still in perfect condition, that's real lambswool for you!
The green beret I bought on a French market during a holiday many many summers ago. All in all an combination of favorite items from my wardrobe. Its warm and colourful, exactly what you need on a cold and grey day. See more great outfits from my fellow bloggers on Not Dead Yet Style: Visable Monday

I love the pointy buttons! The gloves are from Petit Bois, a Dutch company specialized in leather gloves. Similar scarves (beauties! I will actually shop for more tartan scarves very soon!) can be found here. Ted Baker has a likewise coat, I found one here.

donderdag 11 december 2014

Styling an oversized studio Jux jumper with a skirt

Last summer I found this pure wool oversized jumper from studio Jux at a samplesale cum fashion exhibition in the Kunsthal in Rotterdam. It's a wonderful label founded by Dutch fashion designer Jitske Lundgren. I talked to her partner (sorry, forgot to write down name) who manned the stall, while Jitske was in Nepal! That's where they have their gorgeous clothes made by local Nepali women in their own factory in a sustainable way. You can actually 'meet' these tailors in the handshake-part of the website of Studio Jux. Really lovely and it gives an extra dimension to your clothes. They are not made by an anonymous body but a real women you can relate to. I think initiatives like these are very important to change the way 
clothes are produced in developing countries. As an occupational health professional (before sabbatical) I certainly feel that everybody around the globe has the right to work in a safe and healthy place. I didn't know anything about the sustainability outlook of the this brand beforehand, I was simply attracted to the beautiful water or glass colour and the texture and feel of the knit. I love the huge collar with the buttons on the front and the zigzag pattern. This oversized jumper has been in my wardrobe for a while and I've been touching it a lot when contemplating what to wear, waiting for the weather to turn a bit colder. Finally that time has come!

On Tuesday I took Madam Mannequin out for her first real outing. The place I took her to photograph is natuurtalent, our local cityfarm and education and workproject. All about sustainability! It has opened in March this year in neglected school gardens in part of the local park. Natuurtalent ('Nature Talent') is about 1,7 kilometers from my house, right under the fightpath of the Rotterdam The Hague Airport and right besides the motorway. Still, between airplanes and the constant drum of cars in the background, it is such an idyllic place! I really love being there, just walking around or have a cup of tea or having my sons play in the treehut. They have regular Saturday markets in their grounds where you can find all manner of local produced goods; Natuurtalent's own produce, local honey, beautiful cheeses, mustard and so on. If you are in the vicinity: this Saturday (December 13th) there is yet another Puurtalentmarkt (Pure Talent Market)
Madam Mannequin is wearing a scarf by a French brand, VDMD. I had to google them and found out they are all about sustainability too! I couldn't however find anywhere that stocks these wonderful scarves online. (tips are welcome)
I have teamed my studio Jux jumper with an old-ish Humanoid skirt (lovely Dutch brand, do check out the website) made from cupro-silk. It more or less has accidentally the same water colour (I love this colour so much I have various items in this watery turquoise). On my feet I have classic 'horsey' Scapa boots which I bought in the sale at Zalando a few weeks ago. I love this monochrome look and the different textures work well together; the big jumper with the large knit in a matte tone and the flowing smooth shiny silk.
Here are some behind the scenes pictures:
It was a really cold day!

How do you wear -if at all- oversized jumpers?

See you next time,


zondag 7 december 2014

How I have worn my Zara collarless mustard yellow coat

This autumn I treated myself to this collarless mustard yellow coat from Zara. I've always loved collarless coats but was not entirely sure if it would work when temperatures would seriously drop. I bought the Zara coat because I love the wide cut and almost teddybear-fabric (partly mohair) and colour, of course the colour! I now found out it works well on its own in early autumn, with skirts and dresses and trousers and all manner of footwear. It has proved it self very versatile, it combines with a great variety of scarves. You would think that mustard is a difficult colour as supposed to neutrals like camel or sand but it matches wonderfully well with bright pink, grey, taupe, burgundy, brown, even orange. As can be expected from a Zara coat (she admits grudgingly), it's not the best quality in the world. It has started to pill at were my bag touches the fabric and it's only warm enough with a ginormous scarf when there is absolutely no wind. The fabric is quite loosely woven so the wind blows right through. This is Rotterdam; there is always wind here! While cycling in the morning to take my sons to school I've had my chest nearly frozen off a few days ago so I have reverted to a more practical (no worries, yet stylish) coat. This mustard beauty will come out on other occasions. I'm sure it will last me another autumn and then I could always 'invest' in a better quality collarless coat. But I love it for now!

Mustard yellow cocoon coat
Oversized collarless coat

Zara doesn't stock this coat anymore. Similar items are these:

Mauro Grifoni



donderdag 4 december 2014

Count your blessings: restyling an old favorite item

Do you also feel a bit worn out after all the million discount codes of late, Black Friday, Cyber Monday (or in fact the cyber week?) and all the pre-pre-pre-sales? Now you could, in a politically correct way, state that you strictly adhered to your list. I'd believe you straight away! Of course, you would have done that sensible thing and not already buy things for next spring or surrender to bargains you simply couldn't refuse. No, you are far far far too sensible for that, indeed. 

Really? Hahaha!

Well I treated myself a bit too much and now I feel bloated and dazed like how I feel when I've had days of rich food, sweets, cakes, crisps and wine. What helps to quickly return to normal routine is starting with something modest, like a slice of bread with cheese and a cup of tea. The clothes' equivalent of such treatment would be wearing my oldest pair of jeans with a comfortable sweater. I did't though. Maybe I felt a bit ashamed after my overindulgence. Whilst trying to find hangers and space for my new things I suddenly thought: 'count your blessings, I have a wardrobe overflowing with wonderful stuff!'
So I dug out my oldest item in my wardrobe (by that I mean a real piece of garment not a draggy t-shirt). It is a fitted black blazer from a Danish label called St Martins. It was once a part of a suit which I wore to work quite often, with the matching skirt or black straight trousers. I've bought it before my second pregnancy so it must be about 9 years old. I remember wearing it to the jobinterview for my last job (I was made redundant last March hence the sabbatical) I haven't worn this blazer in three years, I guess. Could I wear it in a more casual way? I'm not a blazer-at-home-wearer I found out, but if I teamed this with black skinnies, a simple tee and wedge boots, would that work?

Time to find out:

I still love the blazer but it says work to me. It is not only the cut but the pin-stripes that refer too much to officialdom despite the happy stitching and bright green lining. I always made sure to wear formal work clothes with a twist because I can look quite stern and scary (admittedly, that can come in handy but usually not the message I would like to convey)
I took it off straight after taking the photo's (which are an improvement compared to my last post, no?) All thanks to Madam Mannequin who I haven't introduced to you yet. Well she is a dummy who will function as my focus & detail-shot -assistant. I have ventured outside the house with Madam Mannequin yesterday and I did get some funny looks and comments but I would get them anyway with a camera on a tripod taking pictures of my good self (are you vain, or what?) Well, I guess the people of Rotterdam will get used to me & Madam Mannequin, give it time.

If you are wondering why MM is wearing a dress in side's for an classified add trying to sell a Just in Case dress which is too large for me (sobs). Curious?

Blazer: St. Martins (they don't have similar blazers at the moment but beautiful other items)
Slashneck top: Primark
High rise black skinny jeans: Flippa K
Boots: Bruno Premi
Bag: my ten year old work briefcase by Claudio Ferrici 
Bangle: Hema (great Dutch household and general store, now international and online. Do check it out, it is great! oh I've said that already)

What is your oldest piece of clothing in your wardrobe? Do you still wear it now?

Please let me know!

See you next time,


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